Rainy Day Bees!
Northern California has been a very wet, soggy place this winter. However, we are loving all the rain since our region has been in a severe drought for the last 5-years. ☔️
The winter months pose a tough time for honeybees due to the impact of cold & rain on foraging and the availability of pollen. During a break from a recent rainy deluge, I came across this busy bee gathering pollen for her hive mates. Working with great vigilance, she moved from flower to flower on our Camellia bush. If you look closely, you can see the rain drops on the top of the petals… 🌺Read More →
Recently, I found myself in a rather ‘delicate’ state, desperately craving salt, fat, protein, juicy tomato & the peppery flavor of arugula. So I decided to make myself a bacon lettuce & tomato sandwich (B.L.T.) With my trusted sous-chef Otter-Pop the dog by my side, we took to the task of creating the perfect ‘hangover helper…!’Read More →
🐝 Winter Bee Food 🐝
Yesterday after the rain stopped, I ventured through the garden to document the blooming plants producing food for our local & migratory pollinators. I photo document this seasonal bloom-cycle twice a month throughout the year to make sure our little nectar-loving friends are always ensured a veritable smorgasbord in our garden.Read More →
The Little Bee That Saved Christmas 🌲
In the queendom of beedom, there is known to be a small bee from the genus Hylaeus sp. that has been credited with saving Christmas by researchers in New Zealand. This sweet little bee formed a much needed, yet mysterious symbiotic relationship with a very rare form of mistletoe (Peraxilla tetrapetala).
Now this is not your average, run-of-the-mill mistletoe. Rather, a single Peraxilla plant can live for more than a century, producing a cluster of spectacular crimson buds each year around the time of the Winter Solstice. 🌟Read More →
We roast a few bulbs of garlic every week to add to various dishes. Simply cut off the very tippy-tops (non-root end) of each bulb, place in oven-proof dish with lid, add ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil, ½ cup of dry chardonnay, & fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano, bay leaves & thyme. Salt & pepper to taste. Place in pre-heated oven at 400 F (204 C) & cook for 45-minutes.
We spread this on toast, add it to soup & pasta dishes, along with using it in homemade salad dressings & sauces. Enjoy the culinary richness of roasted garlic while embracing all the healthy benefits of this star in the allium family.Read More →
Throughout the holiday season, we find ourselves entertaining and celebrating with friends and family. Inevitably after a grand feast, I end up with leftover cranberry sauce. In an effort not to be wasteful, I’ve found creative uses for the tart and tangy sauce such as spreading it on turkey sandwiches, throwing it into smoothies, and even placing it on top of a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream on occasion.
This year I came up with a new and exciting way to blow through all the leftover cranberry sauce at once with a fabulous cocktail! Though I’m not a big whiskey fan, I found this libation to flow quite smoothly once you get beyond the initial ‘bite’ of the first sip…Read More →
Nectar Sweet Victory Against Monsanto!
A district judge in the state of Yucatán, Mexico has overturned a permit that would have allowed Monsanto to commercially plant hundreds of thousands of hectares of soybeans genetically modified to resist the company’s infamous pesticide Roundup. The new ruling stated that introducing GM crops to the region would most certainly threaten the established and highly lucrative honey production.
Corn Cheddar Chowder is my go-to soup as we transition from the late summer heat of ‘Indian Summer’ to autumn each year. Why? Because this is the ultimate in comfort food, without leaving you feeling like you need a long hibernation after ingesting it. (Though that is never a bad idea…right?)Read More →
I created this cocktail on a cold, windy autumn evening recently. The warmth of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom spices just seem to sink deep into my tired body at the end of a long, cold day and warm it to the bone. As I recall, we sipped this lovely drink while handing out Halloween candy last October 31st!Read More →
We have an issue with a careless neighbor and her little gray dog. Every morning this woman allows her dog to take a poop on the pathway to our front door. And sure enough, every morning my kids find it on their way out the door for school and proceed to spread it all over the front pathway…
On the few occasions when I have been up early enough to catch this jerk, she just smiles and walks away, leaving a steamy pile of poop gracing our entryway. We love dogs and always pick up after our own animals. There is also a leash law in our town that this lady seems to have decided to ignore. I’m not sure where this person lives, and I don’t want to start unnecessary conflict, but I’m sick of this crap. Any advice…?
-PoopedRead More →
Big-Brained’ Bumblebees Access Tools!
Bumblebees may have small brains, but there’s significantly more happening beneath those exoskeletons than previously thought. Over the last decade bumblebees have proven themselves to be quite remarkable little beings with complex navigational and communication skills, emotions, and even facial recognition.
Now a study at Queen Mary University of London has successfully challenged the long held notion that only ‘large-brained’ beings can maneuver with tools. Cognitive scientist Lars Chittka and his team found that bumblebees could solve tasks and use tools to gain access to nectar. But better yet, they’ve shown bumblebees can learn this task from other bees and hive mates, without ever experiencing these tasks in nature.Read More →
Dean & Deluca
607 St. Helena Hwy S, Saint Helena, CA 94574 (Just off highway 29!)
After our wonderful tasting experience at Prager Winery & Port Works, we stopped into Dean & Deluca for a bit of epicurean perusing. Dean & DeLuca is a chain of fabulous gourmet grocery stores for foodies. The first store was established in New York City in September 1977, in the SoHo district, a rather upscale area in lower Manhattan.
Known for it’s unique selection of meats, cheese, freshly baked bread, and of course, the vast array of gourmet chocolate truffles, this is the perfect place to pick up all the fixins for a decadent picnic in between visiting wineries.Read More →
The Peasant & The Pear
267 Hartz Ave
Danville, CA 94526 Ph. (925) 820-6611
This marvelous restaurant is one of my new favorite East Bay restaurants, Michelin recommended, and a prime example of 5-star dining. Under the guidance of owner Rodney Worth and his wife Natalie, the menu is dynamic, the food is unique in flavor, the ambience is lovely, and the service is impeccable.
A true Danville gem, this restaurant is quaintly hidden in a small plaza, so you may drive right past it without even noticing it. If you access the rear parking lot, it is quite easy to find.Read More →
Every year my husband and I throw several large social events at our home. Some for simply gathering good friends, others for networking with colleagues and fostering professional relationships. Over the years, we have adjusted our guest lists and removed those that became socially challenging for us to ‘manage’ during various events (i.e. basic rudeness, over-indulgence, or any socially inappropriate, embarrassing behavior that may reflect poorly upon us.)
On several occasions, guests that were removed from our invite list called or emailed to ask why they didn’t receive an invitation, or worse, showed up uninvited with the assumption they were welcome. This has proven to create an awkward situation for us. Is it just me, or is it the height or rudeness to assume you are invited to an event, even though you didn’t receive a formal invitation? Are we duty-bound to entertain people simply because they had the privilege of attending one of our gatherings previously? Please Matilda, share with us your sage wisdom on this matter…
– Irked in ArkansasRead More →
¿Cómo se llama Mr. Llama? I had a wonderful conversation with a lovely llama at Harley’s Goat Farm in the charming coastal town of Pescadero recently. After swapping stories and goat jokes with this wooly sentry, Brian and I had the pleasure of attending a 6-course farm dinner in the loft of the old barn on the property. The fresh, delicious cuisine, the ambiance of candlelight, and meeting new friends, all made this an exceptional experience! 🐐🍷🎑Read More →
Embrace a diet rich in every spectrum of the rainbow for an ultimate beauty pick-me-up for your hair, skin and nails. Fruits & vegetables are packed with antioxidants along with other vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and minerals that play a huge role in achieving beauty through optimum health.Read More →
I Absolutely Love This Quote!
‘Unique among all creatures, only the honeybee improves the environment and preys not on any other species…’
– Royden Brown
Ten Fun Facts About Honeybees!
Honeybees, scientifically known as Apis mellifera (meaning honey-carrying bee), have been buzzing around on earth for over 30-millions of years. Humans and honeybees have had a long and loyal relationship for thousands of years. Honeybees are the only insect that create/produce food we eat. 🐝Read More →
We went to the 64th Annual Sausalito Art Festival over the Labor Day 3-day weekend. Known as the ‘Premiere Waterfront Art Festival’, the event brings the best of unique, refined artistic talent together with music, great food and wine. It also happens to be one of the most prestigious shows in the country, gathering talent from around the globe.
After an amazing day of fun, saturated with the brilliant talent we had taken in at the festival, we were greeted by the beautiful and iconic Golden Gate Bridge. As we left the Marin tunnel to pop back to the San Francisco Peninsula, I couldn’t help but revel in our glorious day!Read More →
There is nothing better during the hot summer months than cool black beans doing the samba with crunchy red peppers and rich, buttery avocado, all dressed up in a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. This recipe was inspired by a Mexican salad made at the first restaurant I ever worked at in my teen years. I never did get the exact recipe, so I decided to develop my own version based upon the dreamy recollection of my seasoned and discerning palate.Read More →
Giants Game! I took this photo while attending a San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park during my birthday week. It was an exciting, close game against the Pirates. As you can see from the photo, it was a glorious day in the city. What a perfect way to celebrate my special week! Go Giants!!! 🎈 ⚾️ 🎉Read More →
Most flowering plants have their pollen readily available for any and all pollinators to gather. But some plants are a bit more selective, even somewhat stubborn about whom they will share their nutritious golden treasure.
I just learned about a pollinating technique called ‘Buzz-Pollination from a video series produced by PBS called ‘Deep Look’. Chances are good that you have personally benefited from buzz-pollination’ through enjoying tomatoes, blue berries, cranberries, peppers, eggplant and even potatoes.Read More →
3522 Silverado Trail North, St. Helena, CA 94574, Phone: (800) 622-2206
We headed North on the Silverado Trail for a tasting at Rombauer Vineyards. After driving up the curvy, narrow road to the winery, we were greeted by a few colorfully painted cow sculptures and gorgeous landscaped gardens. The winery is located atop a sunny knoll surrounded by giant trees that offer the perfect shield from the bustling valley below. As we stepped from the car, a tranquil, quiet peacefulness overcame our senses and the playful sound of songbirds danced through the air.Read More →
When attempting to photograph a troop of Rhesus Macaque monkeys in the wild, always keep a watchful eye on the dominant male of the harem…
This naughty little monkey climbed my long braid just like it was a jungle vine and mounted my head, while whooping loudly. I’d swear all the female monkeys in the troop were laughing with delight.Read More →
Cha Cha Cha’s (Tapas & More)
1801 Haight Street, San Francisco 415 386-7670
After visiting the San Francisco Botanical Garden during the annual ‘Flower Piano’ celebration, we headed over to Cha Cha Cha’s to experience incredible cuisine amid the chaos of blaring Latin music, devotional alters, and abundant laughter. The aromatic Cuban spices hang heavy in the air as the indigo walls of the restaurant envelop one’s senses. The kitchen is bustling with excitement while your stomach and your brain simultaneously define a divine hunger.Read More →
Thelma & Louise
One of my best gal pals from college lives across the country. We have remained very close over the years, talking several times a week by phone and Skype. Two months ago, we decided to plan a road trip to Colorado to visit her niece, whom I’m very close with. We’re both really excited to have a bit of quality face-to-face time together while traveling. So, we’ve been enthusiastically planning excursions and adventures into our 6-day journey, including museums, shopping, a girls spa day, hiking a few national parks, fun restaurants to visit with her niece, etc.
Then, about three weeks ago, I was contacted by another friend from college whom I have consciously maintained little interaction with over the years. She informed me that she’d heard about our road trip and invited herself to join us.Read More →
I developed the Le Voov! Lox Scramble with my Mother’s mentality prevailing. Clean out the older food in the refrigerator by Sunday! We served an appetizer requiring lox at a party the previous day, and I wanted to make good use of it quickly so it would maintain it’s freshness.
The addition of a small quantity of Gruyere cheese makes for a deep blending of flavors both bright and rich in this lovely scramble.
We visited Elephant Butte Reservoir located on the Rio Grande in New Mexico, just 5-short miles (8.0 km) north of the quaint little town of Truth or Consequences. The name “Elephant Butte” refers to the volcanic core making up the island at the center of the reservoir, which is said to resemble the shape of an elephant reclining on it’s side. The reservoir and the surrounding land are part of the largest state park in the state of New Mexico, Elephant Butte Lake State Park…Read More →
Massive Mandala On The Beach!
As we were driving along the coast, somewhere between Half Moon Bay & Santa Cruz, when we came across this huge mandala created on a sandy beach.
A mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, circle) is a geometric concentrically structured pattern representing the cosmos or the universe. In many spiritual traditions the creation of a mandala is a practice to invite focus, meditation or an induction into trance state. Mandalas are also used to establish a sacred space.Read More →
We visited our local Farmer’s Market yesterday and discovered a huge selection of amazingly sweet, juicy, yellow peaches. This fabulous find led us to the obvious conclusion that there was nothing left to do but celebrate by making some peach & vanilla ice cream crêpes for dessert! I assure you, it just doesn’t get much better than this…Read More →
We took this photo while strolling along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. This exciting sculpture is called ‘Cupid’s Span’, created by famed pop artist Claes Oldenburg and his wife, Coosje van Bruggen. 💘
The brightly painted fiberglass-and-steel sculpture stands approx. 60 feet (18 meters) in Rincon Park at the foot of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Installed in 2002, the artist’s inspiration for this piece was San Francisco’s reputation as the ‘City of Passion’, invoking the mythological account of Eros shooting his arrow into the center of the earth to make it fertile. Many have commented that while Cupid’s bow is symbolic of love, the shape of this magnificent work also evokes sailing ships and the Bay Bridge itself.Read More →
Along with the hot days of summer, we all need an icy cool cocktail now and then to enjoy. This lovely mixture came about by sheer laziness during a recent heat wave. Early in the morning, I had made myself an energizing, freshly squeezed juice in my Breville Juicer (available at our Le Voov! Amazon Store) after hitting a local farmer’s market. Usually, I’m fairly religious about cleaning my juicer right away, because it’s a real pain the rear to scrub if the pulp dries to the inside of the ridiculously sharp grinder blades…Read More →
We began our second day in Napa with breakfast at the Boon Fly Café. This contemporary roadhouse restaurant has a fun, bubbly atmosphere and an eclectic menu full of scrumptious culinary options. Our morning dining delight started with an order of the signature Boon Fly mini-donuts. These cute, mini-sized wonders proved to be an excellent dipping partner for their rich, dark roast coffee.
For my meal, I ordered the Chilaquiles with scrambled eggs. To my surprise, the eggs were outrageously light and fluffy, pairing beautifully with the deep seasonings and the freshness of the accompanying salsa. This combination made the dish a true winner in my book.Read More →
We had an enchanting visit to Safari West in the heart of California’s Sonoma wine country recently, where this picture was taken. Commonly known as the ‘Sonoma Serengeti’, Safari West is comprised of 400 acres cradled in the mountainous area above Santa Rosa. Visitors are welcome to wander the trails and partake in the open-truck safaris to experience over 1000 exotic African species of mammals and birds within the natural habitat of this beautiful wildlife preserve.Read More →